Planned Parenthood files suit against Ohio AG after claims of improper fetus disposal claims

Posted at 6:05 PM, Dec 13, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-13 18:06:22-05

Attorneys for Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit Sunday in federal court claiming that Ohio politicians are attempting to ban abortion.

“Politicians in Ohio will stop at nothing to ban abortion in all cases in our state. Today, we’re asking a federal court to prevent the state from this plainly political attempt to restrict women’s access to safe and legal abortion,” said Stephanie Kight, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio.

The lawsuit comes after Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said Friday an investigation by his office revealed that Planned Parenthood — or the biomedical companies working with the health organization — dispose of aborted fetal parts in landfills.

Planned Parenthood officials called the claims “bogus” after DeWine, a Republican, threatened to take legal action against the group.

“This sudden and targeted treatment is no doubt motivated by his animus to a woman’s right to safe and legal abortion and to Planned Parenthood in particular,” Planned Parenthood says in the lawsuit.

The organization is seeking a preliminary injunction that would block DeWine and Ohio health officials from interfering with its services.

Planned Parenthood uses licensed medical removal companies who handle fetal tissue in accordance with Ohio laws, the group said.

The pro-abortion rights group said DeWine threatened to take legal action against them.

On Sunday Ohio Gov. John Kasich — a Republican presidential candidate — backed up DeWine’s actions.

“The attorney general has done thorough work and his findings are disturbing,” Kasich said in a statement. “I’ve tasked the Ohio Department of Health to work with the attorney general to take appropriate legal action. This investigation shows the need for further work with the Ohio General Assembly to reign in Planned Parenthood, while continuing to ensure access to vital health care services for women.”

DeWine also said Friday his office’s investigation did not turn up any evidence that the women’s health organization is selling fetal tissue, an allegation that was the subject of a heated political debate in recent months.

Planned Parenthood, which has repeatedly denied that it sells the parts of aborted fetuses, took issue with some of DeWine’s findings.

“These new allegations by the attorney general that we are improperly disposing of fetal tissue are flat-out false,” said Kight. “Planned Parenthood handles medical tissue like any other quality health care provider. Our agreements with vendors all require them to follow state law, and dispose of tissue accordingly. If they are not, then I will take swift action.”

According to DeWine’s office, the three Planned Parenthood offices that perform abortions in the state contract with Stericycle, a medical and pharmaceutical waste management company, and Accu Medical Waste, a medical waste management disposal company.

Stericycle did not return CNN’s calls. And a person answering the phone at Accu Medical Waste hung up on a CNN reporter.

Secretly recorded videos made by a conservative anti-abortion group that were released over the summer have led to multiple congressional and state investigations into Planned Parenthood, and they’ve been a hot topic on the presidential campaign.